Ariana Grande 2018 VMA performance
photo: Getty Images

The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards show will air on Monday, August 26, marking the 36th annual ceremony. 

Taylor Swift will open the event and many more incredible performers will take the stage, too. Artists like Lizzo, Shawn Mendes, Camila Cabello, Normani, Jonas Brothers, and Missy Elliot, who is accepting the highest honor, the Video Vanguard Award. 

Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande are up for the most awards — 10 each — and both are nominated in the Video of the Year and Best Pop categories. Voting is still open on MTV's website for a few categories, like Best New Artist. 

But before taking in the fanfare of the upcoming live show, take a look back at some of the best performances over the past 10 years. 

In 2009, Pink swung from the ceiling in what was both a musical performance and a Cirque du Soleil attempt. 

Reportedly, the artist only practiced this acrobatic feat two times before her lively performance on the VMA pre-show stage. The impressive act had fans at the show on their feet and jaws on the floor at home. 

That year Pink was nominated for Best Female Video, but lost to Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me." Of course, in Swift's acceptance speech was the rude interruption from Kanye West that shook both of their careers for years to come. 

In 2010 Kanye made a VMA comeback with his performance of "Runaway." 

After the Taylor Swift incident of 2009, no one would have expected Yeezy to show up to the awards show, let alone perform. Both artists performed that year and gave nods to West's uncalled for disturbance to the young artist.

But the rapper did show and gave an incredible and artistic performance of his song with Pusha T "Runaway" for the first time. 

Quite possibly one of the most iconic pregnancy reveals of all time was Beyoncé's in 2011. 

The icon said at the beginning of her set, "I want you to feel the love that's growing inside of me," which would come to be a much more poignant remark after the end. The artist sang a soulful rendition of "Love On Top" and at the very end unbuttoned her purple rhinestone jacket to reveal a growing baby bump. Blue Ivy was born in January of the following year. 

Rihanna won Video of the Year at the 2012 VMAs, and had one of the best performances of all time, hands down. 

Back when Rihanna was just a singer and not the beauty entrepreneur and wealthiest woman in music she is today, the artist was wowing audiences with incredible performances like this medley of "Cockiness" and "We Found Love." The sultry number was one of her best performances and she took home the highest award that night. In 2016, she would go on to be honored with the Vanguard Award and listen to a painfully awkward speech from Drake.

Lady Gaga has had a number of great VMA performances, but "Applause" in 2013 takes the cake. 

Everyone will remember that striking first image of Gaga's face singing in a cut-out white box. First she crooned with piano playing in the background, then she went into a wild performance of "Applause" dressed in multiple costumes. Her all-white dress transformed to a slinky black number and then she dressed all the way down to a seashell bra and white underwear. Classic Gaga. 

Taylor Swift has also had an interesting past with the VMAs, but it hasn't stopped her from coming back year after year. 

Swift danced in a fringe leotard to her hit song "Shake It Off" alongside a group of men in tuxedos. The artist has come a long way since that performance and debuted two more albums, Reputation and Lover. The 29-year-old is opening the show this year, just as she did with this number in 2014. 

Demi Lovato's fiery performance of "Cool For The Summer" was the most exciting performance at the 2015 awards show. 

Lovato was feeling herself in this sultry, confident performance. The singer performed a slew of her latest songs that year, but this summer bop was the most fun to watch. At the end, she surfed through the crowd in an inflatable swimming pool — iconic. 

From Beyoncé's "Formation" set to Rihanna's "Stay" performance there were too many great moments to choose from in 2016. 

Beyoncé had fans absolutely in awe at her vibrant and angry "Formation" performance, which came shortly after the drop of her entire music video album release. Ariana Grande also performed "Side to Side" and completely moved on from her child-actor past. Rihanna also proved her singing prowess with an iteration of "Stay." 

Another MTV VMA scandal was Miley Cyrus's disastrous 2013 twerking debacle; but she made a comeback with this beautiful performance of "Younger Now." 

Cyrus sang the lyric "No one stays the same" with extra oomph, because of the massive evolution she had experienced since the last time she performed on that stage. During her infamous "wild days" in 2013, the singer twerked with a foam finger on Robin Thicke while the two performed "We Can't Stop" and "Blurred Lines." In 2017, however, Cyrus looked grown up and ever-changing. 

Ariana Grande stopped the show with "God Is A Woman" in 2018, all while she brought out the important women in her life.

The choreography she performed with her dancers on the VMA stage is what she performs still on her Sweetener/Thank U Next tour. The dance and costumes were absolutely beautiful, and had fans in awe. The artist took home the Best Pop Video award for the song that night, too. 

Now, she has another 10 nominations this year, and could be picked as Artist or Video of the Year.